Today is the winter solstice in our part of the world. I’d almost forgotten until we were cleaning up after a very late lunch / very early dinner. I looked up and noticed how pink the sky was. (According to my third grade teacher, I think I was supposed to say, how pink was the sky – funny how language evolves).
So I jumped up and took some photos, just for you, dear reader.
Here is our sky at 4.45pm Sunday 21st June.
One of the nice things about our apartment is that on one side we have the golf course and Pacific Ocean; while on the other, we have a commercial port; grain and fertiliser silos; and a steel mill. As I once wrote in The Tapestry of My Life – a story that only lives on my computer – “I didn’t anticipate that this place would complement the duality of my nature“.
I think the steel mill can be quite beautiful, too. Here it is, letting off steam, at 5pm.
And by 5.10pm, this day, which officially started at 7am, is done. And 25-30 minutes is a pretty typical dusk here, winter or summer. Night fell, as they say in the classics.
Sometimes the 22nd June is the shortest day of the year. And it is also my birthday. When I was young, I complained to my mother that it wasn’t fair I didn’t get as much birthday as everyone else. She used to placate me by saying, “but when you grow up, it will be the longest night“. My mother didn’t speak much, and when she did, most of what she said was incomprehensible. I can only draw one conclusion from what Mum was telling me then, but surely she didn’t mean what I think she meant. Not when I was ten years old, at any rate.
Tomorrow I will be sixty-five, and something special is happening. My life insurance expires. This isn’t the kind of insurance that you get paid out like an investment. It’s the kind your next of kin gets if you die. So, I’ve survived to the point that the actuary – those qualified risk assessors – deemed I was past betting on. I’ll take that as a win.
From here on, I’m on bonus time. My mother lived to ninety-three. Maybe I will, too. But if I do, I hope I am still granted the gift of communication, which had entirely left her some years before – except through singing. Shortly before she died, I knew I was in her bad books when she wouldn’t sing along to “How Much is That Doggie in the Window” – but every time I stopped paying her attention, she said “ruff-ruff” in a growly voice. I still don’t know what I did wrong. But it is sad what the brain can do when the connections go hay-wire.
Funny how this Covid isolation sends you off on a tangent, isn’t it? Lucky I’m not living in the Arctic Circle, where the winter solstice would be spent in total darkness. Imagine being in iso and total darkness! (Not to mention it would be very cold, too!)
And hush to all of you who are saying, “But Gwen, that will never happen to you – you could talk underwater with your mouth full of pebbles!”